Recently I went to see a movie at the Fine Arts Theatre. Right before the movie began, an old black-and-white photo of the theater flashed up on the screen. The marquee on the building posted the two features of the time: Sassy Sue and Three in a Waterbed. You see, as I have come to find out, the Fine Arts used to be the Plaza Theater, a porn hall (euphemistically referred to as an adult movie house) from the years 1922-1985, until it was finally shut down because of an obscenity law.
Apparently not only do the owners/managers of the Fine Arts want us to nostalgically remember the history of this theater as a home to pornography, they proudly embrace it as a way to currently celebrate the theater to its patrons. Despite the specious claims proponents sometimes make that pornography is an issue of free speech, its systemic and intentional exploitation and endangerment of women for financial profit repudiate any pretense of "art" — fine or otherwise.
And yet there seems to be something casually acceptable here in making the connection through time to the Plaza Theater and its XXX smut (aka misogynist) films. I don’t think the owners of the Fine Arts would be as casual advertising titles from the past that are racist. There seems to be something more ‘acceptably’ humorous to them about sexism. (And of course we know that all the “isms” — like sexism, racism, classism, ageism, etc. — intersect, and most often porn is racist as well as sexist.).
The bottom line, though, is none of this is funny. I write this to inform all of you who patronize this local business and urge you to withdraw your support of its past and present misogyny.
— Lisa Garrett